Did You Know Fun Facts

STEM Flix™ is an interactive video series provided for your viewing pleasure by the Northrop Grumman Foundation and Science Bob. And they are all about having fun with STEM – that is, SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING and MATHEMATICS.

Science

Did you know…Science refers to gaining knowledge through observation and experimentation?

That means it’s because of science that we know so much about animals, the oceans, the planets, even understanding where dust comes from. And the more we learn through science, the better we can understand the world we live in and how to make it better.

For example, thanks to science, we know that….

  • Rabbits and parrots can see behind themselves without even moving their heads. It would be really hard to sneak up on them!
  • In order to taste their food, butterflies have to stand on top of it because their taste receptors are in their feet!
  • Most of the dust in your home is actually dead skin - Yuck!
  • Although the Stegosaurus dinosaur was over 9 meters long, its brain was only the size of a walnut - that’s tiny!
  • Sneezing with your eyes open is impossible, try it!
  • Footprints left behind by astronauts on the moon will stay there forever as there is no wind to blow them away.

If you are naturally curious – you could be a natural-born scientist! And because there is still so much for us to learn and understand, and because our world is constantly changing, we need scientists to keep observing and experimenting! If that’s something you like to do, think about this!

  • There are so many ways to study science - you can choose from things that interest you the most! For example, you can be an anatomist and study the form and structure of animal bodies or a marine biologist and study plant and animal life in the ocean. You can even be a paleontologist and study fossil remains of plants and animals from over a century ago!
  • Many scientists are also inventors – for example, they may recognize a need, observe the current technologies available, experiment with new solutions, and then create something new based on what they learn. For example…
  • Thomas Edison – remember him? – was a great scientist and inventor. Among other things, he developed the first long-lasting, practical electric light bulb! What would we do without those?!
  • Benjamin Franklin was another great scientist and inventor – through observation and experimentation, he invented bifocals, which are eyeglasses made with two different optical powers to help you see both near and far - your grandparents probably use these to help see you better!
  • Before there was the DVD player, there was the VCR – that was invented by scientist Charles Ginsburg. So thanks to Charles, we can buy or rent the latest movies and watch them in the comfort of our living rooms.

Technology

Did you know…Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes? In other words, technology solves problems and creates new and easier ways of doing things, or the opportunity to do things we’ve never been able to do before! How exciting is that?! Think about these advancements in technology and what they might have been in their time, and how they influence our lives today…

  • To have your picture taken by the very first camera you would have had to sit still for 8 hours!
  • The technology contained in a single Game Boy up until the year 2000, exceeded all the computing power used to put the first man on the moon in 1969!
  • Windmills always turn counter-clockwise, that is, except for the windmills in Ireland!
  • The first computer hard drive available for the Apple II had a capacity of only 5 megabytes – by our standards today, it would have only been able to hold one or two songs!
  • Originally, Nintendo was made playing cards, until they eventually designed the concept behind video games.
  • The first public cell phone call was made on April 3, 1973 by Dr. Martin Cooper. Can you believe that was only 39 years ago? Most calls today are made on a cell phone!
  • The color television system was developed by John Logie Baird in 1928. Up until the 1960’s, it was rare to even own a color TV set! Nowadays, most black and white sets can be found in museums – how times have changed!

So advancements in technology have – thankfully – occurred throughout our history. It was has allowed us to grow and evolve as a society. Technology helps save lives through medicine, makes communication easier thanks to cell phones, and is what will one day, take us to planets we’ve never been to before. If you like to create, solve problems and think you have the next great big idea, perhaps a career in the field of technology is for you?

  • There are lots of different types of jobs in the field of technology? For example, you could be a Software Developer and construct, test and maintain software, or a Website Developer and design websites!
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are famous technicians - they are the co-founders of Apple!
  • Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are two world-famous Computer Programmers - Bill Gates is one of the joint founders of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg is one of the co-founders of Facebook!

Engineering

Did you know…engineering is the application of science to designing things whether its buildings, machines or anything that’s manufactured or man-made? Ingenuity is usually involved, which means being clever, resourceful, creative and inventive.

So when you think about it, engineers are really cool because they are the ones that can take an idea and make it real! Just think about some of greatest inventions created by engineers today and throughout our history. For example:

  • Did you know the snowboard was invented by an engineer? Awesome dude!
  • Ever play on a slip-and-slide or slide down a waterslide during a hot summer? It was a civil engineer that invented the slippery part!
  • Did you know engineers designed the shoes you’re wearing now? Engineers designed running shoes in order to distribute our weight evenly throughout the whole foot so that we can walk, run and play comfortably!
  • Ever ridden a roller coaster? All roller coasters are designed by engineers! The world’s largest steel roller coaster – The Millennium Force – reaches a height of 310 feet, which is longer than a football field! The coaster is also the world’s fastest at 92 miles per hour – faster than a cheetah! Takes a lot of ingenuity and skill to create something that big, fast and safe!
  • Can you guess what engineer George W. Ferris created? The first Ferris Wheel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1893!
  • Did you know golf balls have dimples to help the ball fly further? An engineer discovered that.
  • Engineers also built high speed trains in China that can reach speeds up to 220mph. Now that’s fast!

Engineering has so many different branches, with the most common being Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Industrial Engineer and Electrical Engineer. Engineers have really cool jobs like working on the space station and creating 3-D special effects in movies. In fact, everything you see below was created by an engineer…

Engineering - Everything you see here was created by an engineer.

Mathematics

Decimals have a point…

And so does studying math!!

Did you know that it is believed that Ancient Egyptians used complex mathematics such as algebra, arithmetic, and geometry as far back as 3000 BC? Math has been around forever, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without it! If no one thought math was cool, you wouldn’t be able to sit in your favorite bean bag chair playing your favorite video game...

And speaking of video games, did you know that video game designers use math every day? That’s right, game designers need to have a good grasp of game theory – complex math that involves everything from trigonometry to physics!

Did you know that when you watch certain movies, you’re watching the result of some pretty intense math skills making it possible for those talking characters to move across your screen? When designing some of your favorite films, animators use linear algebra to show how an object rotates and shifts, while making them larger and smaller.

Did you know that you’ll need all the math skills you can get if you want to be bigger than Facebook, and more popular than Google? To be a part of the latest generation of social media platforms, gadgets and apps, computer scientists use mathematics to create and develop the next big IDEA! These ‘smarties’ use math skills - like the theoretical study of algorithms - to understand computing systems and develop hardware and software to create their products.

But...

Did YOU know that you can do all these things too?

Whether it’s coming up with the newest video game, creating the next box office hit, or developing the next great app, it all starts with a little math.

STEM Flix
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